The Orioles signed free agent catcher Wellington Castillo, therefore ending Matt Wieters tenure with the team. Wieters came to Baltimore with so many expectations but after the team decided to go in a different direction, there are some fans that are labeling him as a bust. In eight seasons, Wieters’ career batting average is .286, with 117 home runs and 437 runs batted in. However, he was never apart of a team that brought a pennant to Baltimore. Baseball is the ultimate team sport, so is it fair to call Matt Wieters a bust?
Wieters drafted with high expectations
The Orioles drafted Wieters with the 5th overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft. After he was drafted, the buzz around Baltimore was that “he is Joe Mauer with power.” At the time, Mauer, a member of the Minnesota Twins, was regarded as one of the best catchers in the league. He was a consistent All-Star and M.V.P. candidate. And during the mid-2000s, the Twins were consistent contenders for the American League Central division title. Although Mauer was competing and in some years winning the batting title every year, he only hit 20-plus home runs once. So when you hear the phrase, “Mauer with power,” you cannot help but get excited.
Turning the franchise around
In 2007, the Orioles were not a team taken seriously. Ten years removed from their last division championship, fans were seeing a lot of quick fix attempts. During their stretch of losing seasons, the team had acquired names such as Javy Lopez, Joe Carter, and Sammy Sosa just to name a few. Sure there were young guys like Jerry Hairston Jr. and Brian Roberts who came up through the system, but the front office was not building from the farm.
In 2003, the Orioles drafted outfielder Nick Markakis and he made his pro debut in 2006. Adding Wieters the next season let fans know that the Orioles were going to make an attempt to move the franchise in the right direction. Through the next few seasons, they would make a trade that is now known as the biggest steal in franchise history when they dealt 18-game winner Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners in a multi-player exchange that included Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. Jones would go on to become the face of the franchise and Tillman would become the team’s ace. both players like Wieters and Markakis would make all-star appearances.
With the signing of Castillo, the Orioles have moved on. General Manager Dan Duquette said they wish Wieters well. Manager Buck Showalter said they believe Castillo is the best catcher on the market. Many argue that Wieters did not live up to the hype. When you hear the phrase “Mauer with power” one would assume a dangerous hitter in the lineup that will consistently hit 30 home runs per season.
Wieters hit his career high of 23 in 2012, the season that ended the Orioles 15 year playoff drought. So that may be a little disappointing, but then again who put those expectations in fans heads? Although he never caught a Cy-Young winner, behind the plate runners thought twice before stealing bases. Therefore to call Matt Wieters a bust is extreme. It is understandable to a little disappointed, but a bust, absolutely not, who can forget about the multiple walk-off home runs?
Comment with your thoughts